Holidaying by Ferry

By | Category: Travel rumblings

The role of the ferry in enabling us to get away for our holidays is often overlooked. It is only when strike action or weather intervenes that many of us see the impact that not having ferries can have on our ability to get away. Yet on routes to Ireland, France, the Channel Isles and Holland for example, they play a vital role.
Last year nearly 35 million passengers used the ferry to travel. Just over 140,000 coaches used them and we took 7.95 million cars via them to our destinations. Overall this means a rise of just 0.4% over 2009 so it wasn’t a great year of expansion. And a chunk of the increase was due to getting people out of the problems caused by 3 events; the snow in February and then in December which stopped a lot of flights. About 300, 000 people were moved by ferry when the volcanic ash grounded flights last April/May so that also boosted the yearly numbers. But that only goes to show how important have a competitive ferry industry matters to us. Ferries moved more people to and from France than did Eurotunnel and Le Shuttle combined. The biggest are of growth has been on Irish ferry routes with an increase of 3.1%.
So if overall growth has been small and may be masked by the strange weather related events of 2009, ferry travel is still a dominating means of holidaying. 35 million trips probably means 17.5 million round trip journeys. Yet in the year up to November 2010, the number of people travelling abroad to Europe was 43 million. That means 40% of all overseas travel to Europe is done by ferry; an astonishing amount which reinforces how important ferries are to British, Irish and French tourism. And, of course, us the travellers.

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